ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - The "You Paid For It" Team tackles the issue of crime in the city of St Louis. This story took Elliott Davis to Buffalo New York. The city saw a big decrease in violent crimes like murder in 2015.
Residents in high crime St. Louis neighborhoods are struggling to survive the gunfire each day. Elliott Davis talks to one St Louis woman who was shot ten times as she sat on her porch by men shooting at each other
Mekia Jones' life was turned upside down by the shooting last year. She has had 9 surgeries, can't walk, or work, and depends on relatives to get by.
Jones says her kids have to dodge bullets every day at the school bus stop. She would like to see more action by city hall to tackle the causes of so much violence like poverty, unemployment and education.
St. Louis saw an 18 percent spike in homicides last year over 2014. The city had the highest number of murders in decades. By contrast Buffalo New York, which is about the same size as St Louis, saw a 35 percent decrease in Murders in 2015 over the year before.
Elliott Davis went to Buffalo to see what that city is doing. Among other things, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown showed me the city's new training center project.
It has a $48 million dollar project to convert an old abandoned factory located in the middle of one of the most impoverished areas into a big new job training facility.
In addition, Buffalo launched several other initives to try to reduce the violence. The city is funding a group called Peacemakers that keep their ear to the ground and look trouble before it explodes into violence. There's also a multimillion dollar partnership for job training.
There's an outreach to gangs. The Mayor himself meets with gang members to try and convince them to turn their lives around. The city is funding a special program to try to find jobs for gang members.
Mayor Brown says he's trying hard to tackle poverty by getting poor people jobs.
We talked to St Louis Mayor Francis Slay about this city's efforts. He says that during his nearly four terms that he's done everything possible to fight the factors that contribute to crime. He has addressed affordable housing, job training, mental health, and better police protection.
Both Buffalo and St Louis still have their work cut out. Buffalo had 12 murders so far this year, a big jump from a year ago. St Louis has see 58 murders so far in 2016. That is the exact same number as this time a year ago when the city had more murders than it had in decades.